Blade Runner 2049: Will Millennial Males Make it a Box Office Smash?

Blade Runner 2049 Ryan Gosling

After 35 years in anticipation, Blade Runner 2049 is hitting theaters this weekend and it’s expected to be better than the original, which was hailed a flop.

Blade Runner: If you could only see what I've seen with your eyesBut at Networked Insights, we found that when we used our technology to correctly predict election results, sports championships and box office results, sometimes things (and in this case humans) aren’t what they seem.

Using our analytics platform MovieSense, we predict Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to Ridley Scott’s cyberpunk classic, will bring in $45.7 million opening weekend. For reference, that’s less than the 1982 original film’s total sales of $32.9 million or $93.4 million when adjusted for inflation.

Not surprisingly, Gen X men and male millennials are most interested in it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there will be droves of dudes heading to theaters on opening night (Thursday), our research has found.

Digging into the Data: “We’re not computers, Sebastian, we’re physical”

Using Kairos, our social analytics engine and MovieSense, a predictive analytics platform that uses social data to determine consumer awareness and intent, we found that men, specifically Gen X men and male millennials, claim more than 70 percent of the 93,000 conversations during the last week about the film. So far, they’ve had only positive things to say.

Networked Insights Blade Runner 2049 Emotions Breakdown

Pride, success and desire (want) lead the emotions ranking and it’s no surprise. Their social conversations focus on discussing interesting film facts, or they’re having moment-by-moment countdowns to see the sequel. But more than anything, they’re just contributing to the praise for the film that’s being heralded by critics as a “masterpiece” and “better than the original.”

Blade Runner 2049 Tweets Networked Insights

Even though males are having the most amount of conversations about the film, not all groups of men are interested in the neo-noir sci-fi flick.

Using MovieSense, our analytics platform designed in collaboration with major movie studios, the primary share of voice is being claimed by male millennials and GenX-ers.

Networked Insights Blade Runner 2049 Share of Voice

“The nostalgia factor appears to be bringing in fans of the 1970’s novel or original film, as most conversation is coming from older demographics like, Gen X and parents,” said analyst Mike Cleary.

Using Kairos to understand what’s pulling in male millennials, a new audience for the classic film who also hold a strong share of the conversation, three primary themes emerged:

  1. The film’s genre (sci-fi) tends to engage male millennials more than other groups
  2. Critics they trust are praising the film’s cinematic quality
  3. They watched the original and are seeking closure on the story

However, even though fascination with the mysterious cult film has only exponentially increased throughout the years, even pulling in new audiences, overall, there doesn’t appear to be a high intent to see the film in the theater.

High Awareness, Average Intent: “That’s no way to treat a friend”

Male audiences are not only defying the generational divide, but their excitement is spilling over into other groups. In fact, the overall awareness for Blade Runner 2049, meaning all people who watch movies, far exceeds other recent films within the sci-fi genre.

Networked Insights Blade Runner 2049 Cumulative Awareness

At this point in the promotional campaign, the cumulative awareness for Blade Runner 2049 has been tracking similarly to Interstellar. Additionally, compared to other films within the genre that shared similar pre-release support like, Terminator: Genisys, Independence Day: Resurgence and Total Recall, it’s showing far greater reach.

But consider this, even though the film’s cumulative awareness puts it in the top 25 percent of all sci-fi films, the intent ratio—or the percentage of conversation expressing intent to see the film—is right around average for the genre or in the 47th percentile, Cleary said. Which means, it’s indexing higher than Terminator: Genisys, Independence Day: Resurgence, and Total Recall, but could be better.

Networked Insights Blade Runner 2049 Ad Appeal and Awareness

“The high awareness but average intent shows that although the film’s promotional material has had a very wide reach, many consumers, who are aware of the film, have not shown a high amount of excitement (with their dollars) to see the film,” said Cleary.

Comparing the intent ratio to other films at the same point on their promotional campaign, the promotional buzz could be better.

Networked Insights Blade Runner 2049 Awareness Ratio

“Blade Runner’s awareness is higher than average for films within this genre, but intent ratio is slightly lower than average,” said Cleary.  “This further explains that although many have discussed the film, the content released has only done an average job at creating excitement to see the film in theaters.”

Box Office Predictions: “You’d better get it up, or I’m gonna have to kill you!”

Using MovieSense, the current prediction for Blade Runner is $45.7 million, which, fun fact, is the same as the actual opening night sales for Interstellar.  For reference, Networked Insights predicted it to open at $46.3 million and actual sales were $47.5 million.

“Blade Runner 2049 has out-performed multiple recent sci-fi films at this point in its campaign,” said Cleary.

Whatever happens opening night, just know that consumers are fickle, but there’s one truth that remains about the reboot:

See you on the other side.